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Garden Center Birds

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The people at Thomson's Garden Center know us, because we spell our name wrong, with a P, and because we're the bird people. So while we were prowling around the roses and begonias three staff members came up to make sure we'd seen their special birds.

First was a robin who'd built her nest on a stack of trellises. It was clear that nobody was going to be taking any trellises until she was done raising her babies.

Resolute is one word I'd use on her--trying to melt into a background that isn't there, staunchly sitting her eggs as the weekend garden center traffic swirls all around her.

But the best was yet to come. "Go look at the bee balm," one employee said, and I headed for its tall paired leaves.

Nobody was going to be buying any bee balm for awhile, either. Cats prowl all around the garden center, but somehow none of them had keyed into this ingenious nesting place. The staff didn't know what kind of bird had built the nest, only that it was little and brown.

A glance upward confirmed Mom's identity as a song sparrow, and we told the cashier and she wrote it down so she could remember it. What mattered was not that they could name the birds, but that they all cared enough to protect the nests.

It wouldn't be long before the song sparrows left; they're about 6 days old here, and would only stay in the nest another five or so.

Inside, another point of local pride: gazing balls made right here in Marietta by the Silver Globe Manufacturing Company. The tiny factory is a real trip--gazing balls all over the old cement block roof, and a huge pile of busted gazing balls out back. The workers climb up on top of it and eat their lunch, in between hand-blowing glass balls--a southern Ohio and West Virginia tradition, that somehow has not yet been outsourced to China. Well, you'll find lots of cheap foreign gazing balls, but the original and best ones are made by Silver Globe. They're always coming out with new colors. Here's Thomson's display. Makes your eyes roll back in your head.

I was proud of our hometown garden center, even if they spell their name wrong.


Love, love, love gazing balls (we call them gazing globes around here). But, due to wind and nighttime visitors mine all ended up broken with nasty shards of glass in the yard. I've made the switch to a metal one that during a wind storm this past winter ended up two blocks away!! Got it back unharmed and undinged.

I've heard that gazing globes attract fairies as they love to look at themselves, and as a plus the globes detract trolls who are repulsed by what they see shining back at them.

ehhh, them's just puny birds... for any who missed it, here's the story of a Great Horned Owl youngun making its home in a Home Depot Garden Center in Arkansas last month!:

Gazing balls always remind me of olde timey (as my daughter would say) gardens.

Good for you, patronizing local business, as I am sure you would. I have vowed to do that as much as possible in every way.

How brave these birds are, raising their young so close to people. They must feel comfortable, or they would not even attempt it. I would guess that it is due to such a caring staff and peaceful customers.

Eggs, fledglings and gazing balls - your post couldn't be better! Glad there are still places like this with staff who care.

I'd be very proud of them, too.

I have a cheap gazing ball that I fill with water. Ugh. I want one of those that makes my eyes roll back in my head.

How lovely that they are watching over the nesting customers! :c)

I think the best part of the whole story is that the owners of the garden centre are willing to risk a few lost sales out of respect for and enjoyment of the birds. All too often business comes first. It's refreshing to see that there are some people out there who do still care enough about nature to put it ahead of the bottom line.

Oh, I just loved this post of Garden Center Birds and also all the comments!
Loved fairy tales as a kid, and possumlady's phrase of fairies, trolls and gazing balls really tickled me!
It's wonderful when a Garden Center goes out of it's way to look after these loving and trusting birds!
Great article, Julie!
Cindy H

That robin is so cute perched up on her trellis nest. I'm glad your garden center owners and customers have decided to let those birds stay and raise their families.

Great to hear that Marietta Globe is still in business. I used to buy from them 10+ yrs ago. I can't seem to find their contact info... only real estate sale info. Can you post their contact #?

Posted by Anonymous December 5, 2009 at 10:04 PM


It's called the Marietta Silver Globe Manufacturing Co.,it's located on Rte. 550 just outside Marietta, and you can try this number:
740 373 4951.

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